From the Dean – Spring 2017
When you talk about Iowa’s economy, our state agriculture is a prime topic of conversation. It’s often ranked first in the nation. First in corn and soybean production, first in hog production, first in egg-laying chickens and highly ranked in other areas. Agriculture serves as one of the main economic engines for the entire state.
One in 10 jobs in the United States is tied to food and agriculture; that was 16 million jobs in 2011. The 2011 value added to the gross domestic product from agriculture and related industries was $743 billion—nearly 5 percent of total U.S. economic output. Many years, agricultural exports are the bright spot on the nation’s trade balance (Iowa makes a huge contribution here).
Every year, in Iowa, we track food chain links from gate to plate. Employment related to the food chain was more than 388,000 jobs in 2016, nearly 20 percent of Iowa’s employment. Twenty-three percent, over $40 billion, of the state’s gross domestic product was linked to agriculture.
Iowa and the whole north-central region of the nation represent a powerhouse of world-leading agricultural productivity. That’s why I constantly speak out on the need to support world-class public university agricultural research and extension programs. They play a critical role for the future of agriculture and the state economy.
As dean, I believe our college truly strives to provide world class education, research and extension—and stay true to our land-grant mission. This includes creating research, practices and techniques to conserve and protect our natural resources, so that Iowa remains an economic leader in agriculture for the coming centuries.
Yes, centuries. Sustaining those natural resources supports our agricultural productivity and the state’s economic future. It is money well spent.